From June 6-8, the Orioles played the Oakland A’s in their first head to head series of the year. On the sixth, Manny Machado had a bit of a meltdown and threw his helmet after an incident where he felt he was tagged too hard. Two days later, he “accidentally” threw his bat at A’s pitcher Fernando Abad. For these two incidents, Manny received a five game suspension from MLB, which was upheld after being appealed.
It seemed like this was going to be the most inopportune time for Machado to be forced out of the lineup, especially with his bat heating up. The Orioles offense was not explosive as fans know it to be in the games leading up to the suspension. He also is one of the best defensive players on the Orioles’ roster. While he has not played to the same quality as when he won the platinum glove award last year, he has still been very dominant at third base this season. When others were playing at third while Machado was coming back from his knee injury, it was evident that the birds missed number 13.
Not so much anymore. Three games into the five game suspension, the Orioles are 3-0, outscoring the Rangers by a combined 21-8. Chris Davis and Ryan Flaherty have both played well above average defense at third. The offensive output from the position, while minimal, has included the go-ahead home run by Flaherty last night.
Is the Machado suspension really the worst thing that has happened to the Orioles this season? It seems like this season, more than any, the birds have done really well in the face of adversity, from the Machado injury to the Wieters injury to the suspension and more. No matter what has happened, they have found a way to continue winning, and they have been able to stay in the race for the AL East. As long as the Orioles continue to connect on offense like they have over the past three games, they will be on the verge of becoming the AL East powerhouse that has been mysteriously absent throughout this entire season.
Now if only we could work on our starting pitching…